QBE encourages all parents to Share the Care
QBE is changing the face of parenting for its employees with the introduction of a new paid parental leave initiative – Share the Care – which aims to make parenting, career breaks and flexible working, business as usual for both men and women.
The launch coincides with this year’s International Women’s Day in respect of the theme #balanceforbetter.
Research suggests that becoming a caregiver to a child is one of the biggest disruptions to career growth and a systemic root cause of gender inequality. With this caregiving role historically being placed on the woman, a “motherhood penalty”1 is often reflected through pay gaps and at CEO and senior executive levels, where in 2018 women represented only 7 per cent of CEO’s on the ASX2002.
QBE’s Share the Care initiative eliminates the gendered terms of “primary” and “secondary” carer, instead now offering its existing 12-weeks paid parental leave to every new parent – acknowledging the important roles all parents play within a working family.
With less than 5 per cent of men in Australia electing to take primary carers leave3, QBE acknowledges there are barriers that can prevent men playing an active role in the early years of their family’s lives. Over the last 12-months, QBE’s male employees have represented 8 per cent of primary carers and 100 per cent of secondary carers.
QBE aims to counteract these barriers by removing gendered carer labels and through providing flexible options to meet the unique needs of each family. This could include accessing their 12-weeks paid leave by taking two-weeks leave at the time of the child’s birth and following that with one, two or three day-week portions – for example taking two days of parental leave a week for 25 consecutive weeks – available within a 24-month period following the arrival of the child.
QBE already has several employees eligible for the new policy signed up to explore the benefits, including senior male leaders who hope to role model the initiative and show others it’s ok to prioritise family.
QBE is the first general insurer in Australia to adopt this flexible paid parental leave policy as it continues its aspiration to foster an inclusive workplace. Earlier this year QBE was proud to be listed on the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index as one of seven companies headquartered in Australia.
Eleanor Debelle, Chief HR Officer, QBE Australia Pacific said: “I am so incredibly excited and proud of this initiative. Sharing the role of caregiver is fundamental to achieving gender equality by mainstreaming career breaks and flexible working for both men and women. Our goal is not to make our workplace more family friendly for women, but to make our workplace more family friendly for all parents, acknowledging the critical role all parents play in family wellbeing and improved mental health outcomes. At QBE, we’re committed to recognising the moments that matter to our employees, and becoming a parent is a pivotal moment, no matter the gender. We’re really proud to be joining a group of early-adopter organisations in Australia and look forward to the positive impact I’m confident this initiative will have.”
Hear from the first QBE employees set to benefit from the Share the Care initiative, available to all QBE families.
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Senior Communications Specialist
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